Jan Brożek

Jan Brożek

Jan Brożek (Ioannes Broscius,[1] Joannes Broscius[2] or Johannes Broscius;[3][4] 1 November 1585 – 21 November 1652) was a Polish polymath: a mathematician, astronomer, physician, poet, writer, musician and rector of the Kraków Academy.


Brożek was born in Kurzelów, Sandomierz Province, and lived in Kraków, Staszów, and Międzyrzec Podlaski.

He received his primary education in Kurzelow, then continued education in Krakow. In 1604, he enrolled in the Faculty of Liberal Art at the Kraków Academy (now Jagiellonian University), where he received his baccalaureate on 30 March 1605. In January 1614, he became the head of the Astronomy and Astrology Faculty. From 1620 to 1624, he stayed in Padua, where he studied medicine at the University of Padua and received his doctorate in medicine on 11 August 1623. He served as rector of Jagiellonian University.[5]

He was the most prominent Polish mathematician of the 17th century, working on the theory of numbers (particularly perfect numbers) and geometry. He also studied medicine, theology and geodesy. Among the problems he addressed was why bees create hexagonal honeycombs; he demonstrated that this is the most efficient way of using wax and storing honey.

He contributed to a greater knowledge of Nicolaus Copernicus' theories and was his ardent supporter and early prospective biographer. Around 1612 he visited the chapter at Warmia and with the knowledge of Prince-Bishop Simon Rudnicki took from there a number of letters and documents in order to publish them, which he never did. He contributed to a better version of a short biography of Copernicus by Simon Starowolski. "Following his death, his entire collection was lost"; thus "Copernicus' unpublished work probably suffered the greatest damage at the hands of Johannes Broscius."[6][notes 1]

Brożek died at Bronowice, now a district of Kraków. One of the Jagiellonian University's buildings, the Collegium Broscianum, is named for him.


  • "Geodesia distantiarum" (1610);
  • "Dissertatio astronomica" (1616);
  • "Dissersatio de cometa Astrophili" (1619);
  • "De dierum inaequalitate" (1619);
  • "Arithmetica integrorum" (1620);
  • "Apologja pierwsza kalendarza rzymskiego powszechnego" (1641);
  • "Apologia pro Aristotele et Euclide" (1652);
  • "De numeris perfectis disceptatio" (1637);
  • "Epistolae ad naturam ordinatarum figurarum plenius intelligendam pertinentes" (1615);
  • "Peripatheticus Cracoviensis" (1647);
  • "Sermo in synodo Luceornensi" (1641);
  • Discurs Ziemianina z Plebanem (Discourse between the Squire and the Vicar, 1625);
    • Gratis, albo Discurs I Ziemianina z Plebanem (Gratis, or Discourse I between the Squire and the Vicar);
    • Przywiley, albo Discurs II Ziemianina z Plebanem (Privilege, or Discourse II between the Squire and the Vicar);
    • Consens, albo Discurs III Ziemianina z Plebanem (Consensus, or Discourse III between the Squire and the Vicar).

See also